Totti: World Cup without Italy like going to Rome and not seeing the Colosseum

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Francesco Totti bemoaned Italy's absence at the upcoming World Cup, describing the upcoming tournament in Qatar as like "going to Rome without seeing the Colosseum".

A shock play-off defeat to North Macedonia knocked the reigning European champions out of the running to qualify for international football's premier competition, the second consecutive World Cup they have failed to reach.

Only Brazil have won more World Cup titles than Italy's five, and Totti says they will be sorely missed in Qatar.

"The World Cup without Italy is like going to Rome without seeing the Colosseum," Totti told Sky Sport, "we're talking about a great national team.

"For us Italians it is a negative thing, but these are things that happen in football. It will always be a World Cup, we will watch it with interest."

Totti, who was selected to the All-Star team as Italy won the 2006 World Cup, pointed out the nations he feels can win the tournament, declaring: "France, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, Germany.

"They are always the same, I don't see one over the other. Then they will play in winter, which is strange."